Pillows of Coconut Cream

You’ve heard of coconuts, coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut water. Have you ever heard of coconut cream? I hadn’t until very recently. Is it possible that I’m one of the last to the party? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time! Anyway, I have to admit that I’m more than a little intrigued (maybe infatuated?) with coconut cream. If you’ve been using it for a while…ummmm….thanks for telling me! If you’re new to it, let me be the first to turn you on to this stuff. Oh, and, you’re welcome! :)

What Is This Stuff?

Coconut cream (and milk) both come from the white flesh of the coconut. So, basically it’s like this. The coconut flesh is squeezed in hot water, and left to cool. It then gets strained which leaves behind coconut milk and coconut cream. When these two liquids are allowed to stand they will separate and the thick white cream will rise to the surface of the liquid leaving the clear watery milk below. The difference between the milk and the cream is in the concentration and consistency. This creamy portion is thicker and fattier, and has a consistency much like heavily whipped cream. 

It a mild, slightly sweet, coconut-y taste.

When Would I Ever Use It?

What I’ve come to realize is that coconut cream is used in a bunch of recipes - and as a substitute for regular cream. Oh, what have I been missing all these years! It can easily be whipped into a vegan whipped cream which is delicious. You can also use it in coffee. Or use it like whipped cream - on top of ice cream, on top of pie, in parfaits, to top cocoa, etc. It easily replaces diary and coconut milk in sauces, soups, stews, curries, smoothies and more. 

Here are a few great recipes to get you started:

 

Oh, and what do you do if you have some extra left in the can? (As if that will ever happen.) The guys at TheKitchn.com have some ideas here.

How do I get my hands on some?

Well, that’s an easy one. The simplest? Coconut cream comes already canned and ready to go. If you chill it overnight or plunk it in the freezer for about 45 minutes, the cream portion will firm up just enough so it can be gently scooped out of the can with a spoon. Or you can go back a step in the process and buy coconut milk (just don’t buy the lite version!). Leave it in the fridge for a few days and you should get the same results - thick cream rising to the top firm enough to be scoop-able and coconut milk below. 

Wanna be really ambitious and make your own? Of course that’s a little more involved, but you have the benefit of controlling what goes into it. It IS the most expensive way to get coconut cream - although you do get a bunch of coconut water from it which is great for you and full of electrolytes. Here's a lesson from The Spunky CoconutHow To Make Coconut Cream Tutorial.

And How Do I Turn it Into Whipped Cream?

So easy. Once you have coconut cream, it’s really just a matter of adding some sugar and vanilla. If you have a can (14 oz) of coconut cream, place it in a bowl with between 1/4 and 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar and 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract. A chilled bowl works great for this. And then whip the whole thing together for about a minute. Taste it and adjust sweetness. Boom, now you're ready to put it on just about EVERYTHING!

So, go ahead and give coconut cream a try - and let me know how you like it. And if you come up with some creative new ideas be sure to share them!

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